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Homosexuality: Convictions

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL1037, tabled on 1 July 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the Conservative Party manifesto pledges to introduce legislation to pardon those men, now deceased, who were historically convicted of gross indecency even though they would be innocent of any crime today, whether they intend such legislation to extend a pardon to those men similarly convicted but still living who may apply for a "disregard" under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, and if not, why not; and whether they accept that there is a difference between a "pardon" and a "disregard", and if so, what it is.

Answered on

15 July 2015

The Government was elected with a manifesto commitment to introduce a new law to pardon those who suffered from convictions similar to Alan Turing’s, and who cannot correct the injustice themselves through the “disregard” process. Details of the policy have not yet been formulated and Ministers will be discussing their plans and making announcements in due course

There is a clear difference between a pardon and a disregard. A pardon is legally neutral in effect and does not affect any conviction, caution or sentence, though it may remove the ”pains and penalties” which resulted from these. The effect of a disregard is that all successful applicants will be treated “for all purposes in law” as though the conviction had never occurred and need not disclose it for any purpose. Official records relating to the conviction held by prescribed organisations will be deleted or, where appropriate, annotated to this effect as soon as possible after the grant of a disregard.